Risotti are one of my biggest love affairs in the kitchen but also I love buckwheat or barley so much that I was extremely happy to use them in the same way I use arborio rice. Especially that those two are very typical for Central of Eastern Europe and sometimes I miss some Slavonic flavours. This dish is a very nice mix of Polish (barley) and Italian (method and parmesan) influences, a perfect Autumn dish.
This time I have incorporated pearl barley into a risotto recipe that I have found in “Good Food” magazine for spelt risotto. Also I have changed it slightly as I though using a mascarpone cheese in quite buttery and creamy dish is too decadent. Not mentioning that I did not have this cheese at home… Anyway – the outcome was extremely tasty. I have tried this sort of dish before with some mushrooms but this time I though it is the right time to start pumpkin season. So here we go!
about 200g pearl barley
about 30g butter
large, white onion, peeled and diced
ok. 150ml dry white wine
ok. 1l vegetarian stock
2-3 olive oil
half small butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into bite size chunks
2 fresh beetroots
spring of fresh rosemary
handful of freshly grated parmesan
freshly grated black pepper
Sprinkle the unpeeled beets with some oil and place in the oven (180C) until soft. Cool down slightly, peel and dice. Set aside.
In a pan melt half of the butter and fry the onion until soft. Add the barley and mix until covered in fat. Next add the wine, stir and leave it to evaporate. Next add a ladle of hot stock, cover and leave until most of the stock is soaked. Uncover, add some more stock; do not let the barley to dry out. Cook until the barley is soft, over a medium heat. It will take about 20 minutes. Season with salt (if needed, sometimes stock is quite salty, so you do not need an extra salt) and pepper.
Meanwhile roast the pumpkin on a baking tray. Sprinkle with some olive oil, pepper and add rosemary. Roast in 180 C until soft, but still firm. For last 3 minutes add the beets to reheat them. Remove the rosemary.
When the barley is cooked remove the pan form the oven, ad the remaining butter and parmesan, stir well and set aside for minute, or two. It should become quite creamy.
Place onto the plates, add some roasted vegetables on the top and serve immediately.